Weightlifting is becoming more and more popular among all fitness fanatics. Gone are the days when the weights area was reserved for ripped men with veins popping and chalked hands. Now it’s commonly used by all genders, shapes and sizes. However, the practice of training with weights can be dangerous if your form and technique are not correct.
Injuries caused from weightlifting can be very painful and uncomfortable. Some may even result in the need for surgery like ACL reconstruction or foot surgery to treat them; so, while lifting weights is a challenging and fun way to work out, it is also really important to take precautions and practice techniques before attempting to throw around large amounts of weight.
The three main body areas at risk of injury through improper weight lifting are the knees, spine and the foot and ankle. This is because of difficult and heavy loaded exercises like squats, lunges, presses and deadlifts, all putting an immense strain on these areas. Keep reading for some of the best prevention and treatment methods for pain in these areas caused by performing lifts.
It’s very frustrating when you can’t perform a lift with a weight you know your muscle is capable of achieving purely because of knee pain. Squats and lunges require power from the knee’s as well as the quads, hamstrings and glutes. The most important ligament in the knee is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and this ligament works as the core part of stabilising your knee.
Minor knee injuries can be treated with a long resting period, ice compressed on the joint and elevating your knees. You should not perform any kind of squats or lunges during your recovery period, consider a deep tissue massage and over the counter drugs to relieve pain. More serious knee injuries require ACL reconstruction, especially if you have torn a cartilage or damaged the joint surface.
The best way to prevent injury in the knee is to perform exercises correctly. Research how to do squats and lunges properly and practice form with low weights before increasing the load. You can also purchase knee wraps that you wrap around the knee area before squatting or lunging to help increase their strength.
There is a commonly known term called ‘weightlifters back’ and it refers to the strain, caused by lifting weights, in the lumbar spine and lower back. It’s very irritating when you want to grow your muscle mass but cannot lift to your full potential load weight because of back soreness. Deadlifts and high shoulder presses are the main causes of back injury as they are both often performed with heavy weight loads and incorrect form, which can put your spine under unnecessary strain.
Minor spine injuries can be treated with rest, avoiding activities that put a strain on your back or stomach. Sleeping on your side will help put your back under less pressure also and it also helps to try to do some light exercise like walking to stimulate the strained area. More serious back injuries that persist for more than a few days need medical attention, so please contact your physician. Spinal surgery is a branch of orthopaedic surgery and treats disc prolapses, which you could be at risk of if you have been overdoing it without the proper direction.
The best way to avoid injury in the spine is to have correct posture while in the gym. Try not to round your back when lifting weights and keep your shoulders stable and engaged, especially when performing a high shoulder press. If you are lifting the weight from the ground, squeeze your glutes as you lift to engage your pelvis. You can also purchase special weightlifting belts that are worn around the waist to help stabilise the back.
Foot and ankle
Squats, deadlifts and lunges can all cause foot and ankle injuries as they place a significant amount of pressure on your feet. These weight lifts are the core to any weightlifting routine and it would be a shame to have to compromise them with seated leg extensions or other resistance machines because of injury. While resistance machines are good for muscle isolation, nothing can compare to the core moves that work nearly every muscle in your body and make you look and feel you’re strongest.
Foot and ankle injuries can cause inflammation and pain, the best way to treat these is over the counter drugs. Foot and ankle stretches can be performed after an injury to help stabilise and restore comfort. If pain persists for a longer period of time and stops you from performing daily activities like walking, you may need a certain foot surgery or ankle surgery.
The best way to prevent foot and ankle injuries is to strengthen these joints with exercises like calf raises and ankle flexes. Be sure to warm up and stretch feet and ankles before performing lifts and wear shoes that provide substantial support.
Injury from weight lighting will be minimal providing you take all precautions and steps possible to eliminate risks. You want to be recovering your muscles from heavy training sessions, not recovering your joints from incorrect form! If you are experiencing any of the above injuries and not recovering with any of the at-home-tips provided, there are various UK plastic surgery companies who can talk to you about your pain and offer consultations with surgeons.
Author Bio: Katie Wells is a trained Physician who provides consultations, classes and treatment for people suffering from minor injury pain. She has worked in the field for over 6 years and has successfully treated many patients with their pain and discomfort caused by sports related exercise.